Boxing champion Vijender Singh turned out to be a "surprise package" for director Kabir Sadanand, who is launching him in the Bollywood ring with "Fugly".
Vijender Singh and Kabir Sadanand
Impressed with the experience, Sadanand says he would love to collaborate with the sportsperson again.
"Vijender is a sportsman, people expected him to be stiff in front of the camera. But he tackled it very well. He was a complete natural. After being on the sets for a few days, he just got into the groove," Sadanand told IANS.
"He is a great learner, and gradually started understanding the shots and the technicality of the shooting. I was very happy. I would love to work with him again in future, and he's an old friend of mine," said the director, who is a sports enthusiast himself.
Sadanand, who has been an actor, writer and director, has also cast newcomers Mohit Marwah and Kiara Advani for "Fugly", which is releasing June 13.
But he says it was "effortless" to direct them.
"They are newcomers but they picked up the art of acting very well. They went through a month-long workshop with a diction instructor and a theatre expert. We didn't really want to teach them how to act so that they could be natural," said Sadanand, who has earlier directed "Popcorn Khao! Mast Ho Jao" (2004) and "Tum Milo Toh Sahi" (2010).
"Fugly", as he describes it, is a "pacy, grey-humoured" entertainer in which Delhi "inherently plays a strong character".
"There's Chandni Chowk, Parliament Street, farmhouses in Sainik Farms ... also Noida ... reached out to the streets in Delhi, but also delved into the mindsets, temperaments and influences of the capital to create a film for the youth," he said.
Sadanand, who many would remember as the face from popular TV shows like "Family No.1" and "Shagun", says his days in Delhi played a pivotal part in capturing the local flavour of the city, which he left in 1993.
"Fugly" is said to be a 'social thriller' with a message at heart. What is it that the makers want to preach?
"We're not preaching anything. We're only making statements like 'It's getting 'fugly' out for women'. We're asking questions to the society, not preaching," he added.